The Sunday News
Vusumuzi Dube, Senior Municipal Reporter
BULAWAYO councillors have initiated fresh attempts to oust the Town Clerk, Mr Christopher Dube, from office despite offering an apology last week over the botched effort by Deputy Mayor, Councillor Tinashe Kambarami to kick him out last month.
According to council confidential minutes, charges to be preferred against Mr Dube include those that were initially cited by Clr Kambarami and fresh ones emanating from the verbal exchange Mr Dube had with the Deputy Mayor during the botched suspension move.
The Mayor, Councillor Solomon Mguni, has since been instructed to issue a charge sheet to the Town Clerk, further noting that Mr Dube’s conduct when he was issued with the suspension letter by Clr Kambarami was not consistent with that of a public officer.
“Councillors were generally in agreement that the suspension be lifted and current process be abandoned on the understanding that the mayor would pursue the charges previously laid and any other that he deems appropriate including, but not limited to the conduct of the Town Clerk when he was served with the suspension letter by the Deputy Mayor.
“Councillors generally agreed that, regardless of the circumstances, the Town Clerk’s action and language were not acceptable in public office and towards one’s policy makers. To avoid further pitfalls, councillors felt the mayor should rely on the advice of the city solicitor (Coghlan and Welsh) for a smooth conclusion of the case filed by the Town Clerk and on the institution of fresh proceedings against the Town Clerk,” reads the council report.
In a letter to the council, Clr Mguni noted that while there were irregularities surrounding the initial attempt to suspend Mr Dube he had not exonerated him, but had given him seven days to respond to the allegations levelled against him. The Deputy Mayor had accused the town clerk of abuse of office.
“I must state that on the day in question, I was not on council leave. I was neither incapacitated nor did I fail to perform my duties. I was in constant communication with the town clerk.
“There was no vacancy in the office of the mayor. This then makes the suspension irregular that is, I was away for a few minutes and the Deputy Mayor takes such a drastic step, this decision cannot be defended at law.
“It is further important to note that my letter did not state that the town clerk had no case to answer. In fact, the letter directed the town clerk to respond to the various allegations within seven days. My office’s intervention was to enable council to follow the right procedure to avoid legal impediments,” reads the council report.
The revelations come at a time when the mayor and Deputy Mayor had issued a public statement assuring residents that the disturbances would not happen again.
“The City of Bulawayo would like to apologise to residents and stakeholders on the recent disturbances that rocked the city on July 11 and 12, 2019. We want to assure residents that this will not happen again. This incident is a reminder to all of us on the importance of unity in whatever we do,” said Clr Mguni.
The MDC-A councillors are reportedly divided along two factions angling to control the awarding of tenders and the town clerk has been viewed as a stumbling block to their shenanigans. The Government constituted a probe team to investigate circumstances leading to Mr Dube’s suspension and to look into corruption allegations raised against council management and its findings are yet to be released.
Residents have said the chaos at City Hall was a culmination of the election of immature, greedy councillors who think of their stomachs and little about service delivery.